David Savino
JMU Alumni Association's
2010 Distinguished Teacher Award Recipient

"In retrospect, I think I was destined to be a teacher. When I was young David Savinomy father fascinated me with tales about historical figures and my mother instilled in me a great love of reading. But when I enrolled at Madison College (showing my age) I was rudderless when it came to career path.  Then fate intervened and in my junior year I entered Dr. Catherine Boyd’s European History class. A usual class with a most unusual professor. I was entranced from the beginning."

"Dr. Boyd put emphasis on names and dates but gave greater weight to the motives of men and nations. She always asked why. She provided answers and told us to construct the right question. She made us think. The story of history unfolded in her classroom and the entire class felt as if we were participants in some wondrous adventure. I wanted to be able to do what she could do. I wanted to teach. The memory of that class is still my model today."

"I had determined, over time, that we were doing our students a grave dis-service in the history department. In World Studies I, II and U.S. History, teachers (including me) were reaching World War II and ending the course there. Every year we were graduating students without having taught them the second half of the twentieth century, arguably the mostsignificant period of history to them."

"My solution was to create a course called 20th Century History, with an emphasis on the post-World War II era. I began teaching the class in 1986 and have been teaching a full course load ever since. The course is now taught in every high school in the county and is viewed as an important supplement to the U.S. History SOLs. The course is an elective that I teach at a college level and since the material extends into the present year, I believe it is vital to the student’s understanding of the world."

"If I am a distinguished teacher, then the 20th Century History class is my legacy."

David Savino ('78)

Hermitage High School